There isn’t a better light lunch in summer than getting the grill on for these grilled chicken skewers. Chicken breast cubed and coated in basil pesto, juicy seasonal fresh cherry tomatoes threaded onto a skewer and grilled to summer perfection! Add fresh mozzarella rolled in pesto, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sea salt to set the mood. These Caprese Salad Sticks are absolutey perfect as a snack, lunch, appetizer or antipasto.
Tomato Mozzarella Basil Skewers
I love the fact of food on a stick and a single serve for each person with a bit of variety on the stick to keep everyone entertained! Every bite of these grilled chicken caprese sticks is mouthwatering and this recipe is a fabulous twist on the classic caprese salad.
Loads of options here for adding veggies, fruit and different meat types. I have more on meat options below this post. Chicken breast cooks quick and soaks up the marinade faster than red meat with only a few minutes between marinade and grill.
These skewers are not only a visual stunner but are not short on taste either and the combination of tender grilled chicken, creamy bocconcini, juicy cherry tomatoes, and homemade basil pesto make this a simple and irresistible recipe!
Basil pesto is wonderful full flavoured addition to these skewers so there’s hardly a need to add anything else. A drizzle of good olive oil and sea salt always goes the distance. For another dimension you can use balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar. You find balsamic glaze in most supermarkets or you can make your own. It’s a matter of simmering down balsamic vinegar, I have a full post here.
Caprese Salad Sticks
Here's what you''ll need for these salad sticks, please find the full recipe below in the recipe card.
Chicken Breast: I find chicken breast the most convenient. Cut them fairly chunky although if you end up with smaller chicken pieces after cutting simply fold them onto the skewers.
Cherry tomatoes: You do get different sizes cherry tomatoes because it depends where and how they grow, they're not alway the same size and it's okay. As long as your tomatoes are fresh, plump and juicy.
Fresh basil leaves: You are free to add them after the chicken skewers are done grilling to prevent fresh basil leaves from burining.
Olive oil: For all that drizzling flavor. We use this extra virgin olive oil.
Balsamic glaze (optional)
Wooden or metal skewers
How To Make Caprese Skewers
Marinate the Chicken: In a bowl, season the chicken cubes with salt and pepper. Add a generous dollop of basil pesto and fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Allowing the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld is a suggested option or you can grill immediately.
Assemble the Skewers: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.Thread the marinated chicken and cherry tomatoes onto the skewers, alternating the way you like.
Grill to Perfection: Brush the skewers with olive oil to prevent sticking. Grill the skewers for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is fully cooked with a beautiful char and the tomatoes are softened.
Serve with a Drizzle: Arrange the skewers on a platter. Place the mozzarella balls randomly in and around the platter. Drizzle the remaining basil pesto over the skewers (making sure to cover the mozzarella balls) an extra burst of flavor. Add fresh basil leaves, sea salt if needed and serve.
What Type Of Meat To Use For Skewers?
You can use most meat varieties on a skewer and not only meat, seafood is great too especially in summer!
Rib eye: Loads of beautiful marbling on rib eye that contributes to the flavor and tenderness.
Pork tenderloin: is great especially when well seasoned.
There is a large selection of meat to choose from for skewers. Think steak cubes, or lamb (wonderful on sticks) add vegetables and/or fruit and enjoy!
Pork on Skewers?
Pork belly: Once cubed it cooks very quickly on the grill but pork belly bites in the air fryer are not the same as grilling them. You need to watch pork belly cubes and be attentive when the flame gets a bit much and be able to control it. Cooking them on an inside grills that you place on top of your stove is a little different to perhaps an outside grill. However, pork = fat and that fat will render regardless and when it renders you are going to have a) smoke and/or b) flame. When it does flame up, simply have another grid to move it to that's less hot, in other words, manage the flame.
Chicken Thighs: Feel free to use chicken thighs as they work very well in terms of a higher fat content. The higher the fat content the more succulent the meat. In this recipe, the cubed chicken breasts are started off in a basil pesto marinade so they are very strong competition when it comes to succulence.
(FAQs) Caprese Chicken Sticks
Can I use a different type of cheese?
While the classic choice is Mozzarella Bocconcini, you can experiment with other cheeses like feta or halloumi for different flavor profiles. Keep in mind that the melting characteristics may vary.
How long should I marinate the chicken?
Marinate the chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse. For more intense flavor, you can marinate it for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Can I prepare the skewers in advance?
Yes, you can assemble the skewers a few hours ahead of time. Keep them covered in the refrigerator until ready to grill. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before assembling to prevent burning.
How do I prevent the chicken from drying out on the grill?
To prevent dryness, make sure not to overcook the chicken. Grill over medium-high heat and monitor closely, turning the skewers to ensure even cooking. Using a meat thermometer, cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
Can I make this recipe without a grill?
Absolutely! You can cook the skewers in a grill pan on the stovetop or even in the oven. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
What sides pair well with Chicken Skewers?
Can I use frozen chicken?
It's best to use thawed, fresh chicken for this recipe. Thaw it in the refrigerator before marinating for the best flavor and texture.
Can I make this recipe for a vegetarian option? - Absolutely! You can create a vegetarian version by using halloumi or firm tofu instead of chicken. Marinate and grill them similarly for a tasty alternative.
More Caprese Inspired Recipes
- Caprese Bruschetta
- Italian Caprese Salad (Insalata Caprese)
- Italian Caprese Bruschetta
- Avocado Caprese Salad on Toast
Easy Favorite Summer Appetizers
Caprese Salad Sticks
- 4 chicken breasts cubed into bite sized chunks
- 1 cup basil pesto
- 3 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- ½ fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 250 grams 1 tub mozzarella balls or bocconcini
- fresh basil
- salt and fresh black pepper
- metal or wooden skewers
- Marinate the Chicken: In a bowl, season the chicken cubes with salt and pepper. Add a generous dollop of basil pesto and toss to coat evenly. Allowing the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld is a suggested option.
- Assemble the Skewers: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Thread the marinated chicken, cherry tomatoes, bocconcini, and fresh basil leaves onto the skewers, alternating for a colorful and balanced presentation.
- Grill to Perfection: Brush the skewers with olive oil to prevent sticking and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavors. Grill the skewers for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally, until the chicken is fully cooked and has a beautiful char. Ensure the tomatoes are softened, and the bocconcini has a slight melt.
- Serve with a Drizzle: Arrange the skewers on a platter. Place the mozzarella balls randomly in and around the platter. Drizzle the remaining basil pesto over the skewers (making sure to cover the mozzarella balls) just before serving for an extra burst of flavor. Add fresh basil leaves and serve.